Your first reaction to learning that your loved one is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning can range anywhere from anger to sadness, fear to hurt, confusion to grief, and anywhere and everything in between. These emotions and the thousands of others that parents, families, and friends experience as they navigate their loved ones coming out process are normal.
We can tell you with absolute certainty that you're not alone. According to statistics, one in every ten people in this country and around the world is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Approximately one in four families has an immediate family member who is LGBT, and most people have at least one LGBT individual in their extended circle of friends and family.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is here for you. Our members are parents, families and friends of LGBT people and LGBT people themselves. We have been through much of what you are now feeling. We understand.
The first thing you should do for yourself and your loved one is to talk to someone who has been through this process. Whether it is by e-mail, phone or in-person at a PFLAG meeting listening to and talking to those who have experienced the feelings you are encountering can be both cathartic and comforting. PFLAG has more than 500 chapters and representatives across the country ready and willing to work with families and friends both in meeting and in a one on one basis. Click here to find a chapter.
The second thing you should do is educate yourself. Below you will find resources specific to family and friends of the LGBT community. All of these are available for free right here. But please also consider joining PFLAG. As a member of PFLAG you are entitled to support education and advocacy materials whose focus are helping you help you child or loved one.
Get started with your journey now:
The PFLAG Family Story Center.
You’re not alone. Read stories from real PFLAG families to get a better understanding about the coming out process and how PFLAG can help.
- Terminology. What do some of these words mean? Use PFLAG's quick dictionary of terms to get the facts.
Straight for Equality.
Are you a straight ally who doesn't necessarily have a close family member or friend who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? Then Straight for Equality is the place for you! Visit PFLAG's Straight for Equality website here
- Coming Out As A Straight Supporter A publication created by PFLAG National and the HRC Foundation, intended to be a welcoming guide for straight supporters to build bridges of understanding when someone they know comes out to them. The guide answers initial questions, shares facts and strategies, and suggests ways that straight allies can show their support of of LGBT equality.
- Tips for the holidays. Stressed out about how to approach holiday gatherings? Use PFLAG's resources to get some ideas on how to respond to issues and create a happy holiday for every member of your family.
- Learn more about PFLAG’s Diversity Network. Families from ethnic communities and families of color often face unique challenges when a loved one comes out. Find community-appropriate resources as well as PFLAG information in other languages here.
- Gender Spectrum. Creating a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens through education, training and support.